Many years ago, before my age had reached double figures, I got a Fashion Wheel for Christmas. I spent many hours producing ‘drawings’ of different outfits using all of the combinations available on the wheel and promptly decided that I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up. Years passed and, aged 16, I completed my GCSE textiles course and realised that I wasn’t quite practical enough to be a fashion designer. The dress I made from a shop-bought pattern was a beautiful full-skirted early 90s summer dress (shame I don’t have it as I could perhaps flog it as vintage soon), but the nightie I made for my little sister without a pattern was rather ill-fitting to say the least. Drawing outfits was one thing, but designing something that could actually be made to wear was perhaps not for me after all.
After having huge amounts of fun during my art foundation course, I’d been steered in the direction of textile design and so headed for Manchester to study for my degree. The course was fascinating and quite industry orientated so I partly returned to my earlier fashion obsession and was, for those three years at least, totally aware of all trends and what each high street store stocked. However, by the time I graduated, I knew that the one thing I did not want to do was become a designer! A while later I realised that I also didn’t want to be another faceless twenty-something on a large retailer’s graduate training scheme in order to become a buyer.
Then I started to fall out with my perennial love: women’s glossy magazines. They bossed me around, told me what I could and couldn’t wear, recycled awful looks and then attacked women who looked bad for trying them, so I ditched the fashion mags and ran off with any others of interest that I could find. (After much searching, Empire and the British Journal of Photography are now my preferred options at the newsstand.) By this point, an interest in fashion was just a distant memory for me.
Recently, however, I have rekindled my love affair with clothes. A few things have helped along the way – my love of rummaging for a good garment rather than an overall look has been helped by the increase in vintage stores; my quirky mish-mash of a style doesn’t look out of place now I live in London; and now I have discovered fashion blogs. From high-street to designer to vintage, they all love clothes but never patronise the reader or endlessly recycle content. And, best of all, you don’t have to wade through pages and pages of adverts just to get to the content. I shall no longer be ashamed to admit I am interested in clothing. To paraphrase Mademoiselle Robot, it fulfills all my most superficial needs.